President of Women's Ministries, Community Lutheran church
Las Vegas, NV
"It is a great storyline, it is engaging, timely and it kept me guessing. It is a unique story and that is awesome! I really enjoyed it and I liked the ending. I was asked to read this as a professional woman, so I wanted to say how strong Sam was, she was confident and knew herself, which I think is a quality that professional single moms have in common. Spot on!"
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Sam has just made the biggest discovery in her life in the field of solar research. But before she can celebrate her discovery she gets a strange Snapchat message. Sam is informed that someone will try and steal her research. As a single Christian mom, it will require all of Sam's faith and strength to save her research. She will be forced to team up with Ken who is an Agnostic and has very little respect for Christians. As Ken and Sam work together, Ken sees a side of Christianity that he never thought existed. While fighting to protect her discovery, Sam and her friends uncover a much bigger plot that could damage the integrity of the Christian church nationwide.
|Publisher:||Salem Publishing Solutions|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.67(d)|
Read an Excerpt
It was fifteen minutes before five as Samantha Carr looked up at the clock. This normally would not have meant a thing because she usually worked until six or sometimes to seven o'clock. Her lab did officially close at five o'clock, but when on the verge of a big discovery, clocks seemed to lose their meaning. But not today. Sam, as she preferred to be called, was leaving at five o'clock sharp! There was no need to work overtime today because she had just confirmed the biggest discovery of her career and she couldn't wait to show her boss the results.
Sam was an electrical engineer and ever since she was a little girl, she had been fascinated with all types of power sources. When she was ten years old, her father tried to get her interested in golf. Sam's father was a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force and that meant the family moved a great deal. Maybe it was because of the constant moving and having to make new friends that Sam's interests moved into the electrical science industry. Reading about science and watching programs about solar energy and how much power the sun really had was something Sam could enjoy alone at home. It didn't require her to stop what she was doing every time she moved and start all over with new friends.
Sam's father loved the game of golf. He tried to teach the game to his daughter, but instead of being interested in the game, she was more curious and interested in the golf cart.
"How come this cart doesn't make noise when it's running like our car?" she would ask.
"Because it's electric," her father would say.
"How come it doesn't use gas ?"
"Electric carts don't need gas."
"Why isn't our car at home quiet like this ? Why don't we have an electric car?"
Finally getting frustrated, Sam's father just said, "I don't know, what difference does it make ? We came here to play golf"
So, the golf game didn't really go that well for her dad. But Sam gained a passion for electricity on the golf course that day, and it had never stopped growing.
Another interest of Sam's was swimming. This was one part of Sam that her father was successful at creating. Sam's father was an endurance athlete in his younger years and he competed in running, swimming, cycling, biathlons and triathlons. Sam really enjoyed going to her father's races and cheering for him. He rarely placed in an event, but he had the occasional second or third place finish. It didn't matter to Sam, she just loved cheering for her father as he crossed the finish line. She never developed the desire to compete in triathlons or any multi-sport competition, but she did fall in love with swimming. In high school and college, she did compete, and she did very well. To this day, Sam still swam three to four times a week and she had the swimmer's body to match her efforts. She was five-feet-nine inches tall and 130 pounds, with brown hair and very attractive. If she hadn't been working so hard in the lab, she could have easily been dating several would-be suitors for the past year. But her daughter and her work came before everything else and now it was about to pay off.
As Sam was enjoying the thought of her discovery, she almost didn't hear the phone ring. It was Sherry from the front desk.
"Hi, Sherry what's up ?"
"Sam, could I use your phone to make a call? My phone is dead, and I need to call Linda. And heaven forbid that I should make a personal call on one of the business lines."
"Sure, no problem, come on back." Sam's office was located off of the main laboratory with two glass walls that overlooked the lab. She needed to have a separate office that could be locked for security reasons. Within a couple of minutes, Sherry was walking back through the lab and into Sam's office.
"Thank you so much. Do I need a pass code to get into your phone ?"
"Oh, yes you do, Jennifer said I have to have one." Jennifer was Sam's very informed daughter at the age of fourteen.
"Evidently everyone in today's world needs to make sure that no one else is listening to our phone calls. It is my birth date, ten-sixteen-eighty-three. And don't tell Jennifer that I gave that code to you. I will never hear the end of it."
"Thanks, I'll have it back to you in just a few minutes."
"Oh, don't bother, I'll pick it up on my way out because I am leaving on time today."
"Really, so what is the special occasion?"
"Nothing that I can share right now but you will know soon enough!"
Sam had to admire Sherry's contrived surprised reaction to her leaving early. Sherry knew very well that today was Sam's birthday and her boss and mentor, Dennis, was throwing her a surprise party at his house. Normally Sam wouldn't be leaving on time, but she was more than anxious to leave early today. Today was the day that Sam made one of the biggest breakthroughs in the solar research industry.
After Sherry left Sam started thinking about how she came to the point where she was today, and just how she achieved her discovery. Sam's company was Sun Mountain Labs, a research facility funded by the federal government. Their purpose was to develop solar energy for commercial and private use. Sam could have worked for several private research labs, but they wanted immediate results that they could turn into monetary cash gains. At Sun Mountain Labs, or SML as the staff referred to it, there wasn't the constant pressure or worry about next year's stock returns. This allowed the scientists to work at their own pace and do meaningful research without the pressure of the company trying to make a profit. Sam always felt that once solar energy was developed at a price everyone could afford, then the whole world would profit. She did not believe that one company should control an energy source that could power the whole planet. Working with the government would keep her discoveries out of private hands and do the most good for the most people. At least, that was her belief.
Sam started at SML one year ago, and for the first eight months it was very relaxed and a joy to come to work. But for the last four months, it had been far more hectic and demanding. There were added requirements to turn in monthly reports on her research. Some months showed progress, and in some months there was a lack of progress. That was how research went. Sometimes researchers found a procedure or formula that worked, and sometimes they found several ways not to accomplish their goal. There are always many more ways to fail than to succeed. Finding that one result that brought success made all of the failed efforts worth it.
SML was located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a beautiful city located at the foot of Pike's Peak in the Rocky Mountains. Sam had spent many days hiking with her daughter Jennifer, and they both really loved the beauty of the mountains. Sam's friend Joelle was an avid hiker and prided herself on climbing mountains over 14,000 feet in height. "Fourteeners" was what they were called, and one group of hikers intended to hike all fifty-three of them. Joelle had already conquered thirty-eight and intended to do every single one. Sam did hike to the top of Pike's Peak with Joelle, and that was enough for her. As Sam struggled to get to the top, Joelle was hiking with ease and didn't even break out a sweat. From that day on, Sam's nickname for Joelle was "Joelle the Gazelle," and while they remained close friends, Sam, as she put it, had done all of the fourteeners she needs to do in this lifetime. While Sam and Jen loved the mountains, their real love was for the beach. There was a little town called Santa Rosa Beach in Walton County, Florida, located on the Florida panhandle -- or as locals called it, the Emerald Coast. The beaches there had sugar white sand and the water color was similar to a bright emerald green. Sam took Jen there only once, and Jen fell in love with it. It was Sam's hope that someday she could transfer there, as SML did have a division located in Santa Rosa Beach. Little did Sam know just how quick that opportunity was about to come!
For the last four months, Sam had steadily made more progress. As that progress was attained, it also generated more reports and more attention to her research. She went from submitting a report once a month to twice a month. Then it became weekly, and for the last month it had been daily. All of the extra paperwork was one of the reasons that Sam had had so many late nights. When she did complain, the answer was always the same. The Senate committee that funded their research was meeting and their budget was on the table. They met to obtain funding every two years and SML needed to show as much progress as they could to justify their expense. These committee meetings just happened to occur at the same time of her successes. So, Sam brushed it off and felt that once the committee funded SML, then she would have at least another two years of peace.
As Sam was lost in thought, Sherry walked back in and handed Sam her phone. "Thanks for the use of the phone. I will see you on Monday." Then Sherry added, "I thought you were leaving on time today."
Sam looked up at the clock and noticed it was 5:00 PM. Sitting up in her chair, she said, "Oh, well I will be out of here in less than fifteen minutes."
"Yeah right, anyway, Linda says hi and don't stay to long. It is Friday night you know!"
Sherry waved goodbye and was out the door. Sam always admired and respected Sherry. She had been a dancer in the ballet and achieved soloist level in the Boston Ballet, with a bright future ahead of her, when she fell in love. She married William, a principal dancer also in the Boston Ballet. In one year, Sherry had Linda, who was born with a heart condition. Because of Linda's condition, Sherry had to interrupt her dancing career. She had always intended to return to the ballet, but at the time her daughter needed her more. One year after Linda was born, William was killed in a car accident. Sherry was devastated, and if it wasn't for Linda, she might not have been able to go on. After one very tough year of losing her husband and her dreams, she was able to find Sun Mountain Labs. As an office manager, her pay wasn't the best, but the benefits were excellent, and exactly what she needed for her daughter. Now five years later, Linda was in first grade and they were both doing well. But Linda still needed extra medical care. Sherry often stated that without SML she wouldn't know how they would make it.
Sam just needed to finish her final report for today and a few other things, and then it would be off to her surprise party that she knew nothing about. Dennis Lampkin was Sam's direct supervisor. He had already received her first report that stated she had made her big discovery, sent through Sherry earlier in the day. Her final report that included all of the formulas she used for her discovery would be sent directly to Dennis. There were strict security protocols used when dealing with research in this facility. The types of research could be discussed through administration channels, but the actual research itself was only allowed to be seen by certain individuals in the company. This was the report Sam was so anxious to share with Dennis this evening. As Sam was just about to finish up, her phone rang with an unfamiliar tone. As Sam looked at her phone, she saw a message statement telling her she had a Snapchat message.
"You have one Snapchat message, it will remain for only five minutes before it will be automatically deleted."
Sam's first thought was that someone was playing a joke. But as she looked around the room, she remembered, she was the only one left in the lab. All of the staff had left already since it was Friday, not to mention everyone wanted to be in place for her big surprise party. The phone beeped again.
Okay I will play along and see who this is.
When Sam opened the app, the message read:
"You don't know who I am yet, but if I am right, you have just made a crucial breakthrough in your research and you are about to share it with Dennis."
Sam took a breath and wondered how anyone knew about her research. No one was supposed to know about that except her and Dennis and his superiors. Was this a joke ?
Is someone testing me and my security protocols?
The message went on:
"Ifyou give Dennis the results of your research, you may never see it again. You could also find yourself getting locked out of your lab and getting all access cut off completely."
All right, this is not a joke. Who is this and what in the world can they be talking about? These thoughts went through Sam's head as she read the rest of the message:
"What I am about to suggest will seem insane, but you must protect your research results and not give Dennis the correct data. You must remove it from the lab tonight. If I am right, you have had a large increase in the amount and length of reports due over the past month. I once sat in your position and I lost all of my research to Dennis. You must take steps now to protect your research. When you see Sherry tonight, ask her about me, my name is Kenneth. We have known each other for over a year. Do not let anyone hear you mention my name and do not speak to anyone about this message, especially DENNIS!! I will contact you tomorrow."
After finishing the message, Sam started to read it again, still not believing what she was reading. She no sooner reached "I will contact you tomorrow," when the message just vanished. Sam was no longer smiling and thinking that a joke was being played. Now she was getting worried. Who knew about her research? Why would anyone tell her she could lose her research? And how could she not trust Dennis? He was her boss, friend and mentor. She wouldn't have even got the chance to make this discovery if it wasn't for him. Dennis was the one who believed in her and gave her a chance.
This can't be happening. There must be some explanation. I know, I have got to talk to Sherry. This Kenneth knew I would see Sherry tonight, so he knows about the surprise party. So, I'll bet he will be there as well, and this is some kind of stupid joke. But then, why would he be so forceful, almost frightening about Dennis? And how could he ask me to breach security protocols concerning my research? That is an offense that could get me fired immediately. No, this is no joke, something is happening, and Sherry knows what it is. I need to talk to Sherry. But first before I get to the party I need to call my I.T. expert. I need to find out just what this Snapchat is and how I got it on my phone.
Sam quickly punched in a phone number and a young, energetic voice answered, "Hi, Mom."
"Jen, I need to ask you about a phone app. It is called Snapchat. Do you know anything about it?"
"Of course, everyone knows about Snapchat. Mom sometimes I don't know how you can be this brilliant research scientist and not know about the most common cell phone apps?"
"Okay, I get it, please enlighten me. This seems like something out of Mission Impossible."
"Mission Impossible, like the movie?"
"No, not the movie, it was a television show from the Stone Age, before you were born. Anyway, just explain how this app works please."
"Well a lot of kids like to use it to text each other. Whatever they say or send will disappear after a few minutes. So, if they don't want anyone to be able to prove what they said, they send it via Snapchat."
"Why would anyone want their message to disappear?"
"Mom, really? What if you wanted to send something mean, or maybe something that you don't want anyone else to see, like a picture ?"
It took Sam a minute and then the light came on. "Oh no, you don't mean a picture like ...?"
"Yes, Mom, now you get it."
"How do you even know about this?" replied an upset Sam.
"How do you not know about this?" was the quick reply from Jen. "They talk about Snapchat in the news all the time, according to my best friend's parents."
"Well, I guess I haven't had much time for the news due to work. Wait Jen, have you ever used this app ?"
"Yes, most of the kids at school have it."
"Please tell me you ..."
"Mom, you really think I would send mean things or send pictures?" Jen paused and said faintly, "I mean, I hardly ever have."
"Well that is good ... Wait -- what?"
This statement was greeted with a burst of young laughter. "Come on, Mom, I was just kidding, you really need to lighten up, especially on your birthday."
"Okay Jen, but that was not funny! I guess I am a little stressed because I just got a text message via Snapchat and I don't even know who it is from."
"Really? Is he cute?"
"It wasn't a picture, Jen!"
More laughter on the other end of the line. "Okay, no more joking. Maybe someone is playing a joke on you. And besides, you have to have the app on your phone before anyone can send you anything. When did you get the app ?"
"I didn't know I had the app, but I think you may be right, and I think I know who is playing the joke. Thanks for bringing me into the 21 century"
"Sure, and thanks for the history lesson. Did they have color televisions back when they had impossible missions on TV? I think I read about that somewhere."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "My Faith Is Not For Sale"
Copyright © 2019 Jeff Treganowan.
Excerpted by permission of Xulon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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